In the previous episode, Karyna was intercepted and threatened in her attempt to find the truth about the Wolf Slayer atop a nearby mountain. Left with little choice, she tried to flatter him into telling her himself. With proof now that the wolf was not killed by any mortal weapon, readers voted that she do nothing with the information because no one would believe her anyway.
“What do you think?”
“It is an impressive trophy,” Karyna said evenly, her mind whirling as she contemplated the implication of her discovery. “It is a wonder you survived the encounter. I can only imagine the size of the claws of this great beast.”
“It was painful, but I bear the scars proudly,” Garik said smugly, clearly enjoying the praise he was getting, unaware he was being mocked. Karyna was tempted to ask to see his scars, just to see what his reaction would be. Perhaps he did have scars across his back from some other encounter, but he certainly did not have them from Eyulf. The boy would have probably bled out from such damage. The claws hanging from the Wolf Slayer’s neck convinced her of that.
“I would very much like to see a demonstration of your skills as a warrior,” Karyna said instead, the idea coming to her rather suddenly. “I am sure I would learn much from someone as talented as you.” If she could not make it to the mountain to find the truth, she would weasel it out of her betrothed somehow. Even without the whole story, perhaps she could show the people of Birkholm that Garik was nothing more than a liar and a fraud.
“Someday maybe,” Garik said dismissively, smirking in amusement. “But you have no need to worry about improving your skills. As my wife, the only time you will touch a sword or axe is to clean it. Do I make myself clear?” He was smarter than she thought. Evidently he had seen the anger flash in her eyes, as his tone had hardened and his smirk vanished as he spat out the last sentence. She would have to be more subtle if she wanted to get him to reveal anything.
“Yes,” Karyna said softly in response to his question. “It will be difficult, but I shall give up the sword if it pleases you.”
Garik was silent, his eyes studying Karyna carefully. She stared back, trying not to reveal any of her inner thoughts. She suddenly felt a wave of unease pass over her, her instincts once again telling her that she trod on dangerous ground. Whatever Garik was thinking, it would not be good for her.
“I think Freydis was right about you,” he said warily, stepping closer to Karyna suddenly, pinning her to the wooden column beside the wolf skull. “There is nothing but deceit in you. You do not care about my triumph over the wolf, do you? What are you really after?”
“I merely seek to know more about my future husband before our wedding,” Karyna said, looking up at him innocently. He may look scrawny, but he towered over her menacingly. Like a cornered cat, Karyna’s muscles tightened, ready to lash out if threatened.
“I doubt that very much. You are a woman,” Garik spat out, sneering down at her. “Manipulation and deception are second nature to you. I am warning you now, Bloody Rose, I will not tolerate disobedience.” Karyna winced as his hand shot out and his palm smacked the side of her face. She glared up at him with undisguised hatred, wanting to disembowel him on the spot for daring to slap her.
“Do you fear me, Wolf Slayer?” Karyna said acidly, putting on her own sneer as she met Garik’s eyes once more. She could no longer hide her true feelings, not when he was so openly hostile. “Is that why you threaten and strike me? Is that why you are so afraid for me to have a blade? Do you fear what I may know? Do you fear what I may do?”
“You know nothing,” Garik jeered, gripping her arm in the same place Freydis had earlier. Karyna sucked in her breath suddenly as his fingers dug into the bruise that was starting to form. “Whatever tales you have heard are lies. I am the Wolf Slayer, and I will be respected!”
“You will never have my respect. Not now, not as your wife. You do not deserve it.”
Karyna was both shocked and infuriated when Garik leaned forward and pressed his mouth to hers. She struggled against the unwanted kiss, but she was pinned too tightly to the wall to get any leverage in her blows, her limbs barely making any difference as they came in contact with whatever part of Garik she could reach. She eventually broke free, earning another slap.
“You will not speak to me that way! You have been spoiled up until now, but you will learn your place.” Karyna felt all the air leave her lungs as Garik struck her in the stomach. She doubled over in pain, grasping at the wall to keep upright. His punch was not the hardest she had ever experienced, but she had not been prepared for it. Nor was she prepared when he grabbed her by the back of the neck and threw her to the ground in a heap. She had been disgusted with her new family before, but now she had nothing but hatred for the abusive clan.
“You wanted to see me fight?” Garik hissed, crouching beside her and wrapping his fingers around her throat, adding to the bruises his sister had already made. “There, are you satisfied now?” He threw her back on the ground, standing up straight before he bellowed, “Freydis!” Instantly, the woman was at his side, staring coldly down at Karyna.
“What is it you need, Brother?”
“Take her back to her room,” he instructed, striding away without looking back. “Make sure she stays there until I see fit to let her out.” Freydis smirked down at Karyna, gripping her shoulder none too gently as she hoisted the beaten woman to her feet.
“You are a slow learner, Bloody Rose. But soon enough Garik will set you straight.” Karyna remained silent, letting her captor lead her out of the hall. There was no question now. She was a prisoner. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.
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